‘Lucky’ bank bandit’s getaway foiled by sharp-eyed cops

See why the Police Bureau’s East Precinct commander says the man they suspect of robbing the Eastport Plaza US Bank was, indeed, lucky – even though he was caught red-handed with the cash, just minutes after the alleged robbery …

After strolling out of this US Bank branch at Eastport Plaza, the nattily-attired alleged hold-up man must have thought this was his lucky day. He was right – in a way.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Not many suspected bank robbers who get slapped in handcuffs minutes after their heist are called “lucky”.

But, that’s the word Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct Commander Bill Walker uses, when talking about the man they captured for having allegedly robbed the Eastport Plaza branch of US Bank on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses on Tuesday, May 17.

At 4:06 p.m., police were called to the bank, says PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson, filling in the details. “Officers learned that the suspect fled on foot after using a ‘demand note’ to obtain money.”

Police patrol cars line SE 78th Avenue, just north of SE Foster Road, where they finally wrestle the fleeing suspect into custody.

The police radio crackled out the suspect’s description: An older white male, about 5 ft 10 in tall and weighing an estimated 210 lbs, dressed in overcoats, a blue sport coat and slacks, a blue shirt, and a red “power” tie.

“East Precinct officers from day and afternoon shifts responded quickly,” grins their commander. “They did a terrific job coordinating an area to cordon off, looking for this suspect, who they believed to still be on foot.”

The alleged bank bandit continues to argue with a PPB East Precinct officer – who points down to the evidence that may be used against him in a court of law.

The first to get “eyes on the suspect” was East Precinct Julian Carroll, Walker notes. “He spotted the suspect running, called in his location, and confronted the suspect.”

Near SE 78th Avenue and Mitchell Street, a couple of blocks north of SE Foster Road, officers converged on the dapperly-dressed suspected hold-up man.

“The suspect refused officers’ commands, and kept putting his hand into his pocket as he ran from the police,” Lt. Simpson continues the story. “Officers deployed a Taser, but the probes were ineffective due to the suspect’s bulky clothing. Officers were able to get close enough to grab the suspect, though, and get him handcuffed.”

Although in need of a haircut and shave, this allegedly well-dressed bandit has a seat, and waits as officers continue to collect evidence.

Still dressed in his finery, he was taken into custody, and the money from the bank was recovered, states Simpson. “51-year-old Franklin Dean Sauter, a transient, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on outstanding warrants from Multnomah and Clackamas Counties.”

We were surprised to see that Sauter was arrested on a charge of “Menacing” (a Class A Misdemeanor). Simpson explains, “A Federal Grand Jury will be considering Bank Robbery charges against the suspect.”

Because Sauter was said to have passed a note in the bank to allegedly induce the teller to give him money, Walker tells us later, “and apparently didn’t display a weapon, he was likely charged with ‘Menacing’ because his threat of violence or harm was implied.”

Here’s his “formal portrait” – here’s 51-year-old Franklin Dean Sauter – the man police suspect of the bank robbery. MCDC photo

Commander Walker reflects, “Here’s an individual who is suspected of just holding up a bank. Then, when police move in he doesn’t stop, keeps reaching into his pocket, refuses to show his hands, and then allegedly fights with officers. Because he was wearing lots of clothing, the Tazer is ineffective on him.

“He’s a fortunate individual to not have had lethal force used against him.”

“Even though he was quickly taken into custody,” Walker concludes, “this is his – and everyone’s – lucky day; no one was injured.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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